Meaning Leads to Deeper Brand Conversations, Inside and Out


Hugh MacLeod orginally did this drawing for a commission, but brought it out again after being inspired by a speech he heard about brands as platforms.

As he puts it: “When you create meaning, understand your purpose, creating something worth talking about comes pretty easily.”

Through our emotive branding process, we provide our client’s employees with new and helpful stuff to talk about.

We give them a statement, which we call a “Driving Idea,” that urges them to reshape what they do to better align to the brand’s business and emotive goals. Built upon meaningful truths we cull from the brand’s current behavior, the brand’s Driving Idea fuses the business and emotive goals into a memorable, actionable, and meaningful way of being.

Individually, and as teams, employees use the Driving Idea for inspiration. For example, they look at what they’re about to do and ask themselves, “How can this new effort make one or more of the promises of our brand’s Driving Idea more evident, more true, more compelling?” 

The Driving Idea sparks provocative and inspiring conversations that employees can have with each other–and which they can extend to other people in the value chain. The Driving Idea can also be used to initiate fresh new conversations, debates and other interactions with customers and prospects.

At the same time, we explain to employees the unique set of feelings the brand seeks to own. We carefully propose these, selecting them from hundreds of possibilities. The emotions we choose are those which we believe will lead people to an “Emotional Space” that will enable them to bring the brand’s Driving Idea to life. 

Again, management and employees are encouraged to foster these feelings within the workplace. For example, one such feeling might be in the area of confidence; this would lead people in the company to see how they can make each other–and people outside the brand, such as customers–feel more confident as a result of dealing with the brand and, at the same time, more confident in themselves.

Emotive branding creates a new, interesting, and potentially fun level of conversation for employees to have. It leads to shifts in attitudes and behaviors that make the brand’s workplace, and it’s presence in the marketplace, far more appealing and distinct.

Cartoon by Hugh Macleod




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